The Reddit co-founder took to Twitter on Thursday to speak out against a drawing of Williams in Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper, questioning why its editor, Damon Johnston, was being praised by an Australian organization called Male Champions of Change, which aims to empower “powerful men to step up beside women to create a more gender equal world.”
“I am truly perplexed to learn this editor of the Australian newspaper behind the blatantly racist and misogynistic cartoon of my wife is a ‘Male Champion of Change’ 🤔 Is this supposed to be satire, too? @malechampions @LizBroderick,” Ohanian wrote, tagging the website’s female founder, Elizabeth Broderick.
The drawing by cartoonist Mark Knight showed Williams at last week’s U.S. Open women’s singles final, during which she got into an argument with an umpire before losing to Japan’s Naomi Osaka. The illustration depicted the tennis pro stomping on her tennis racket, with a pacifier near her feet — causing many to draw comparisons to cartoons from America’s Jim Crow era.
Knight has continually defended his drawing — and so has Johnston. “I drew this cartoon Sunday night after seeing the U.S. Open final, and seeing the world’s best tennis player have a tantrum and thought that was interesting,” Knight said in an article published by The Herald Sun on Tuesday. “The cartoon about Serena is about her poor behaviour on the day, not about race. The world has just gone crazy.”
“A champion tennis player had a mega tantrum on the world stage, and Mark’s cartoon depicted that. It had nothing to do with gender or race. This was about a bad sport being mocked,” Johnston added.
Williams was fined $17,000 from her $1.85 million prize money for three violations — $10,000 for verbally abusing the umpire, $4,000 for receiving a warning about coaching; and $3,000 for breaking a racket — following her controversial loss.
See more on Williams in the video below.
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